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Free Vendors

So the City of Buffalo charges more for vendors to sell their items downtown. Why is that? Do the vendors get something extra for the additional cost? Nope—same police protection, same fire protection. So just what purpose does licensing the vendors serve? Oh, right—we wouldn’t want just any riff-raff selling their goods downtown! If that is the case, then fine—force vendors to get a permit and to get permission before selling to the public, downtown or anywhere else in the city. But charging them hundreds of dollars is absurd! Buffalo should be encouraging businesses in the city, especially downtown! Even bicycle vendors of ice cream! Anything that draws people in! Charging such enormous fees only generates a self-perpetuating bureaucracy! Permits cost $300, so now we need people to collect the fees. Then we need a supervisor to watch the people who collect the fees. Then we need accountants to make sure all the fees are being collected and no permits are being given away. Then we need someone to report on the activities of the permit bureau to the Common Council and the mayor. Pretty soon we have 40 people in an agency which costs too much for a kid to be allowed to sell ice cream from a bicycle! Absurd!

Lawrence Southwick III

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